Reading Partners rewarded

Conwy County residents who are part of the innovative ‘Reading Friends’ project took part in a special event to mark World Book Night earlier this week at Conwy Castle thanks to CADW and the Reading Agency and Literature Wales.

As part of World Book night, the national celebration of reading and books run by the Reading Agency, Reading Partners and Friends enjoyed a session in the company of local author Juliet Greenwood. Juliet talked about her experience of becoming an author, from her early short stories, one of which was based in Conwy Castle, to her latest novel.

The Reading Friends project pairs enthusiastic volunteers, called Reading Partners, with older people who may feel isolated or lonely or those living with dementia and engage them through reading activities. Research carried out for The Reading Agency demonstrates that reading for pleasure for at least 30 minutes a day improves wellbeing. Conwy Library Service was the first test site in Wales for the Reading Friends initiative and initially the project is running in the County until summer 2018.

On World Book Night, books are given out with a focus on reaching those who don’t read regularly within communities. This year a selection of 23 titles, donated by publishers, was distributed. Everyone attending the event at Conwy Castle received a free copy of Emma Healey’s novel ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ which Reading Partners will now be able to share with their Reading Friends.

Cheryl Hesketh, Library Service Manager and lead for the Reading Friends project, at Conwy County Borough Council said, “Promoting reading is at the heart of our role in Conwy County libraries and celebrating World Book Night and the Reading Friends project was a great way to demonstrate the power that reading can have to engage and enrich people’s lives and contribute towards their health and wellbeing.”

Anyone who would like more information about the Reading Friends project can contact cheryl.hesketh@conwy.gov.uk or 01492 576582.

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